Rashema Melson has been living in a D.C. homeless shelter with her mother and two siblings for the past two years. This may have been setback for some, but this determined 18-year-old used her troubling living situation as motivation.
According to reports, the Anacostia High School senior earned a 4.0 GPA and received a full scholarship to Georgetown University. “I feel accomplished,” she told FOX5. “I feel I did something worthy. I feel like I did it. But I’m not done yet.”
“She is definitely a success story,” said Dora Taylor, a spokesperson with the D.C. Department of Human Services. Her dept. oversees the shelter, which is reportedly plagued with rodents, rust and mildew-lined showers and moldy bread served at meals. “As you can see, she has no complaints. Nothing depresses her. Seemingly nothing brings her down. And she has the right attitude. You know, she expressed to you that she’s grateful despite her circumstance,” Taylor said.
Instead of looking at the negative, Rashema said she always pushes forward with positive thoughts. “It’s pushing me to be better, to know what I want in life, and to know this is not what I want, but I have to go through it for the moment,” she said. “I think the toughest part is just moving around before we got to the shelter, because it’s been going on for six years.”
She went on to say that sports, books and her studies kept her focused on the end goal. “It’s not hard for me because I want it,” she explained. “Like when you don’t want it and you’re just doing it because you have to, it’s like a struggle. But I want to be successful and this is what I want. And that’s my goal in life — to like be successful.”
Rashema said she plans to major in biology and become a forensic pathologist one day. Watch her touching interview clip below.